Friday, May 23, 2014

Latest Reading - 5/23/2014 -- Erik Schubach's series

    This is going to be a bit of a long post.  First I want to cover the latest reading of The Valkyrie Chronicles: Seventy Two Hours by Erik Schubach.  Then I want to mention the other books by Erick Schubach as I have come to really enjoy all of his books.  What wonderfully expressive characters and fascinating stories.  Each one strong yet flawed and so courageous.  I really love all of these stories. 
     First; back to The Valkyrie Chronicles.  I love this series.  Kate and Kara are awesome and adding in Arina and Inatra made it even better.  Then the addition of the children and you have one heck of a great group of characters.  This is a take on the Asgard legends and how they came about.  Asgard is an actual place. A pocket world that can span the barriers to other worlds.  It uses these worlds to power its magnetic forces that powers the "city" of Asgard.  This magnetic energy also powers the nanites that give the Asgard their eons long life spans and it powers the special nanites given to the Valkyrie and the Einherjer so they will be able to battle the Ragnarok and protect the innocents of the worlds in which they come to stay. 
     Asgard makes a transition of 5 worlds every 5000 years.  Each world they come to they stay for 1000 years and it takes 5000 years to make a complete circuit.  They draw the energies of these worlds to replenish their own, not harming the worlds or their inhabitants. 
     The series begins with Return of the Asgard.  Here we meet Kara, the Wild One.  The lone Asgard on Earth.  She battled the Ragnarok 5000 years ago and kept Asgard safe until its transition to the next world.  Unfortunately she was then stuck on Earth for the next 5000 years until Asgard transitioned back.  Those years have passed and Asgard is due to transition back to Earth in only a few more days.  During her time of exile on Earth, Kara has battled the Ragnarok who have managed to send a generational ship from their home planet to Earth.  She has defended the people of earth from both the Ragnarok and from the evil of their own kind.  Tracking down a group of three men who had raped a young woman, Kara ends up in a bar just waiting for them to accost her so she can bring them to task.  They attack and Kara proceeds to defend herself.  One of the degenerates pulls a gun and shoots Kara in the shoulder.  Her nanites immediately begin healing her and she smashes her beer mug against his head.  At this same time, Kate, Detective Kate Summers, runs into the bar and shoots the man with the gun.  Kara, seeing things being taken well in hand, exits the bar and heads for her home.  Kate follows and here begins the rest of the story. 
     This is a story rich in mythology, science and yes, even romance.  This is a great tale of honor, bravery, devotion and duty.  Awesome characters, deep, individual, strong and flawed.  Totally awesome, a wonderful emotional roller-coaster.  It grabs you right from the start and it never lets up.
     Follow this with the second book, Bloodlines.  This is where we meet Inatra, the Ragnarok woman, exiled from her ship because she is deemed too flawed to survive.  In this story Arina becomes a striking character and the love that comes between her and Inatra is wonderful.  Arina, the Innocent, the first Valkyriefrior, Valkyrie of Peace.  She commits no harm and uses her abilities to become the best in all Valkyrie.  These two are completely awesome.
      Book three: Folkvangr.  In this installment we meet Freya, who put herself into exile to try and save the inhabitants of this planet from the Ragnarok.  Asgard has transitioned away from Earth and is now at Folkvangr.  Freya, who has been hiding and doing all in her powers to save the people of this planet from the Ragnarok has become the strength and heart of these people.  Without the Valkyrie nanites she has crafted armor and built a city hidden deep inside a mountain to protect the last of the Vangr from the Ragnarok.  Another awesome story of strength against adversity and dedication and honor to saving the innocents of a world.  Keeps you on the edge of your seat and leaning in to see what happens next.  Here we find even more and more Ragnarok seeing the truth behind the lies they have been taught all their lives.   Here we find a slow beginning of peace and cooperation between the Asgard and the Ragnarok.
     Book Four: 72 Hours.  This books rivets you to your seat! It begins with the death of Kara!!!  Noooooo!  Then it takes you back 72 hours to show the build up to this event that begins a new spin off of these amazing and fascinating characters. 
     This is truly a wonderful series of books.  Well worth your time and money.  I've had a wonderful time reading and even re-reading these stories. 
     Now I will say that I encountered more word errors in this last book than in any of the other three.  Not so much misspellings, as the words were spelled correctly, they were just the "wrong" words.
For example, "Thank you so muck, Kara...."  Yeah, would have sounded much better with the correct word "much" in there.  There were numerous occasions where this occurred.  Not enough to truly take you out of the story but enough that it was jarring at each occurrence. 

     Now to mention other series by Erik.  His Music of the Soul series is absolutely fantastic.  Romance with the added touch of majorly flawed characters. Disabilities, both physical and mental, tear at these women and somehow make them stronger and more awesome in their abilities to over come these troubles to find themselves and somehow become stronger and better because or in-spite of them. 
     Music of the Soul, book one in the series, is the story of Mandy Fay Harris, wild and crazy rock star and Annabella West, the young, deaf girl who totally turns Mandy's world upside down.  Mandy Harris, lost, pushed to be something other than what she wanted by the avarice of the record labels and their greed for money.  She's trying to find herself again and goes back to the one place she never thought she'd ever see again, home.  Back to the small, music school where she first learned to play her guitar and learned that music was the one refuge that made her more than what she was.  Back to her roots, trying desperately to hide and protect the one thing that made her want to be a better person, her daughter June.  Here she meets up with Annabella and her family, a deaf girl who has come to idolize Mandy.  Has come to survive and become more than her handicap through the magic of music.  Mandy's music.  They immediately hit it off, a flare, an unstoppable force, drawing them together.  It doesn't take long before the paparazzi find Mandy and with a single picture of Mandy and Bella together, brings everything crashing down.  Mandy knows she's ruined Bella's life and she's desperate to get away, to give Bella a chance to pull her life back together.  She takes on a tour to take her as far away from the one she's hurt.  This tour takes on a new meaning though as Mandy, through self searching and memories of Bella and June, turns this tour into a farewell tour, a healing tour, where Mandy goes back too her roots, back to the music she wanted to make right from the beginning but wasn't allowed to.  This is a tour of self-discovery and healing and through it all the gentle touches of Bella and her family and thoughts of June bring Mandy the strength to face her inner fears and become something even more powerful than she ever was.  Emotional rock, a release of the feelings and fears and hopes and dreams transforms Mandy Harris into Mandy Fay Harris as she fights her way to a new beginning and realization that love can overcome any obstacle put in her way.      This was a beautiful story, a story of growth and love and realization.  Yes there were a few weak points and a few difficult to grasp situations/responses, but over all it was a beautiful story and yes, a really emotional roller-coaster ride. 
     Next: A Deafening Whisper.  What a beautiful, heart-rending story.  Two young women, fighting an almost debilitating case of OCD and Tourette's as well as cystic fibrosis. Two seriously messed up individuals that somehow manage to find love and joy amidst the pain and fear.  This is definitely a serious tear-jerker.  Oh I loved the characters of Mia and Valla.  Vicky was another story all together.  What a beautiful love story.
     Third was: Dating Game. 
      Fourth was: Karaoke Queen
      Fifth was: Silent Bob
      Sixth was: Five Feet or Less
      Seventh was: Broken Song
      Eighth was: Syncopated Rhythm
      Ninth was: Progeny
Each one of these was a true roller-coaster of emotions.  I won't go into detail on all of these.  I will say that all of these stories are tied to each other as they all take place in and around the same city and all of the characters are connected in one way or another.  I think this adds a depth to the stories as the characters interact and play off each other.  While all the stories are pretty much stand-alone reads, it really adds color and emotional depth to the stories when you put all the characters into place and see how intertwined the lives and loves of these amazing women are.

     Erik also has two other series out, each with only one book so far. 
Fracture: Divergence.  This is the first book of the Fracture series. 
Drakon: Awakening. First book in the Drakon series.

     All of these are excellent books, fun, emotional and well written. Each one has strong, powerful characters that take charge of their lives and push forward despite all odds.  I highly recommend any and all of these stories.